In Colorado, all drivers are required to carry auto insurance by law. However, having auto insurance does not guarantee that you will be compensated for your injuries and damages if you are involved in an auto accident, especially if the other driver is an uninsured or underinsured motorist. On January 1, 2018, Colorado adopted new laws regarding uninsured and underinsured insurance policies. The following describes what you should know about the Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage portion of your insurance policy.
What is Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
UM/UIM coverage is a supplemental insurance policy that kicks in when you are involved in an auto accident with someone who does not have insurance coverage, or who has insufficient auto insurance to cover any medical bills or costs of the accident. If the other driver is at-fault for the accident, your insurance company will step in and cover any medical or accident-related expenses that the driver at-fault is unable to cover.
UM/UIM coverage is offered in addition to your primary automobile insurance policy and is not a stand-alone policy. In Colorado, insurance companies are required to provide UM/UIM coverage that equals the limits of your bodily injury liability policy. For example, if your bodily injury liability coverage is $250,000.00, then your UM/UIM will also cover $250,000.00.
Another great advantage of UM/UIM coverage is that such policy covers injuries even if you are a pedestrian, cyclist, or passenger in another vehicle, and the at-fault party does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your expenses resulting from the accident.
So What’s Changed Since 2008?
The first change to the law is that “setoff” by your insurance company is no longer allowed. Let’s say your injuries and damages total $250,000.00. If your UM/UIM policy covers $200,000, and the underinsured motorist’s insurance only pays up to $50,000.00, then the total compensation of your policy and the other driver’s policy is the combination of both policies, or $250,000.00. The insurance company can no longer setoff the underinsured motorists sum from your policy coverage.
The second change to the law is that you are allowed to purchase more than one policy per household, and “stack” the policies to cover your damages. For example, if you own three insurance policies with UM/UIM coverage of $100,000.00 each, Colorado law will allow you to apply up to $300,000.00 of your UM/UIM coverage towards the expenses resulting from the accident.
How Long Do I Have to File a UM/UIM Claim?
In Colorado, an injured party has three years from the date of the injury to file an UM/UIM claim with their insurance company. If the injured party receives a payment for any of their injuries within three years, the injured party is granted an additional two years to file a claim for underinsured coverage with their insurance company, to cover any additional expenses the injured party may incur in the future as a result of the accident. Any injured party should ensure that underinsured claims are filed before the three years expire to be certain they will receive compensation for their claims.
Contact us if your claim has been denied
If you don’t have UM/UIM you should certainly consider adding it to your policy, as it can provide significant monetary coverage in the event of an accident.
If you have been injured in an automobile, truck, pedestrian/auto, or bicycle accident, contact the experienced Denver attorneys at Alhasoon, Glidden and Glidden for a free consultation to evaluate your case.